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Industry Job search engine
Founded New York (July 1, 2003)
Founder Marc Cenedella, Alexandre Douzet, Andrew Koch
Headquarters New York, New York, United States
Key people
Marc Cendenella, Executive Chairman

TheLadders is a subscription based comprehensive job-matching service and employment website, headquartered in New York City. The company helps professionals find the jobs and meet the employers that are right for their career goals (both candidates and employers have to get a paid subscription to use the service). TheLadders initially launched in 2003 as a service for $100k+ job seekers, but expanded its reach to all professional jobs in September, 2011.


Marc Cenedella started TheLadders in July 2003 to fill a gap in the world of online recruitment and high-end employment. As the Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations at HotJobs, Cenedella saw that (at that time) large job boards worked well for entry- and mid-level candidates, but high-level job searches were not being conducted efficiently online. Job seekers were frustrated, and recruiters often elected not to post their executive opportunities online at all.[1]

Cenedella's solution to this dilemma was a reverse-business model that catered to high-end job seekers. After orchestrating the sale of to Yahoo! [2] Cenedella started SalesLadder from his living room. He purchased several programming books, scouted job opportunities and started sending a personalized newsletter to a small group of friends, contacts and, eventually, subscribers. The initial offering developed into many “Ladders” such as FinanceLadder and OperationsLadder, prior to becoming what it is today. The company took on one round of series A venture capital funding in 2004, and since then had a varied company history and is profitable.[3] TheLadders was considered one of the world’s most valuable digital startups in 2008, valued at the time at an estimated $500 million.[4]

Professional Job Seekers: The site catered to the $100k+ job market from its creation through 2011, when its services expanded to all career-driven professionals. Today, job seekers are placed in segmented salary bands and only have access to jobs at, and one step above, their career level rather than jobs at all salary levels on the site.[5] This segmentation is designed to give professionals a focused job search by level. It also serves as self-selection criteria to ensure that members of the site are invested in their job search.

Employers and Recruiting Professionals: When TheLadders first launched, employers were able to post job openings at no charge. As the company evolved, TheLadders moved toward a subscription service for employers and executive recruiters. Though the company faced criticism from some customers and industry experts for “double dipping,” charging for job postings and access to the candidate database allowed the company to offer a robust enterprise product with additional features and services.[6][7] This business model was reviewed and noted in a case study published by Harvard Business School.[8] As the recruiting and job climate changed,TheLadders changed with the times. In 2011, the company stopped charging its recruiters to use most features the site. Today, most features of RecruitLadder are available to business clients for free, with paid options available for expanded and additional services.[9]

Operations and business model[edit]

Professional Job Seekers: The first and core business line, TheLadders offers job listings and career advice for professional-level job seekers. TheLadders has more than 43,000 recruiters posting job openings monthly for its more than 6 million job-seeking members.[10] TheLadders offers job-search technology to allow job seekers to drill down listings to find jobs in their location, industry, and employment sector, and also provides job matches, exclusive of searching, based on members’ unique profiles. Job seekers are able to create a profile or post a resume to the site, and employers are able to search for these profiles or resumes. TheLadders offers job seekers expert career advice from many contributors, including Founder Marc Cenedella and resident Job Search Expert Amanda Augustine. Topics of their articles include the job search, interviewing, networking, personal branding and salary.[11]

Employers & Recruiting Professionals: RecruitLadder offers online recruitment services to corporate hiring managers, recruiters, and any other talent acquisition experts. To date, RecruitLadder numbers more than 43,000 users. TheLadders allows hiring professionals and businesses to post jobs to a targeted audience of professionals. Recruiters can view resumes of potential candidates and contact them directly through the website to streamline the online sourcing and recruiting process.[12] Most features on RecruitLadder are available to business clients for free, with paid options available for expanded and additional services.


On March 11, 2013 a legal complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit alleges, in addition to other claims: "The Ladders scammed its customers into paying for its job board service by misrepresenting itself to be 'a premium job site for only $100k+ jobs, and only $100k+ talent.' In fact, TheLadders sold access to purported "$100k+" job listings that (1) did not exist, (2) did not pay $100k+, and/or (3) were not authorized to be posted on TheLadders by the employers." [13]

On March 12, 2014, the federal Court denied TheLadders’ motion to dismiss the suit brought by its customers for “breach of contract” and “deceptive acts or practices” and ruled that a consumer action lawsuit may proceed. [14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heires, Katherine (December 1, 2005). “Where JobSeekers Pay to Play”. CNN Money.Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  2. ^ Barlas, Pete (August 10, 2005). “Job Site ZerosIn On Higher-Paying Work; $100,000 a year and up; After helping to overseeHotJobs' sale to Yahoo, executive takes new tack”. Access My Library. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  3. ^ Taylor, Colleen (June 18, 2013). “TheLaddersDebuts Its First-Ever iOS App, As It Aims To Make Being ‘Mobile Last’ AlsoMobile Best”. TechCrunch. RetrievedJune 21, 2013.
  4. ^ SAI (April 15, 2008). “SAI25: The World’s MostValuable Digital Startups”. BusinessInsider. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  5. ^ Zappe, John (July 21, 2011). “$100k Job Site toBecome $40k And Up”. RetrievedJune 21, 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Stein Wellner, Alison (June 1, 2005). “IsIt Time to Raise Prices?”. Inc.(Retrieved June 21, 2013).
  8. ^ Coles, Peter A., BenjaminEdelman, Brian J. Hall, and Nicole Bennett. "TheLadders." Harvard Business School Case 908-061, April 2010. (Revised fromoriginal April 2008 version.)
  9. ^ (January 10, 2011). “TheLaddersLaunches Passport - Free Recruiting Solution to Find the Right Fit Fast”. PR Newswire. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  10. ^ (June 18, 2013). “TheLadders”. CrunchBase. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  11. ^
  12. ^ (June 23, 2008). “ Unveils Two New Candidate Search Innovations for RecruitLadder Service”. Reuters. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  13. ^
  14. ^

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